Lonelier (or just hornier) fans might be familiar with Tenga. The infamous sex toy company has become ubiquitous in the culture. No doubt their marketing is a big reason why.
Tenga recently announced that they’re shooting a rocket into space. And they’re putting one of their sex toys on the rocket. Why? They say that they’re collecting data to develop Tenga products for use in space.
While that may be the case, no doubt they’re also doing it because it’s a brilliant marketing move.
Remember when Red Bull sponsored a skydiver’s (successful) attempt to break the record for the world’s highest skydive? While on the surface that had nothing to energy drinks, it was an excellent marketing and branding move for Red Bull. This is called “experiential marketing.” Experiential marketing engages consumers in branded events, locations, and experiences.
Marketing isn’t always about directly selling more products. It’s just as often about making the brand memorable. When successful, experiential marketing creates an “I was there when…” effect associated with the brand. This is what Tenga is doing.
This is far from uncommon for otaku and otaku-adjacent companies. Anime that take place in real locations might integrate marketing into those real-life locations. Girls und Panzer did this for the real-life town of Ooarai. Other anime might do a promotion with Lawson (Hololive recently announced something like this). The Gundam standing outside Diver City in Odaiba is another example.
What’s great about experiential marketing is that it often doesn’t have anything to do with the product. Doesn’t need to. It just needs to be interesting and fit the brand’s identity. Its goal is to engage the audience. If it does that well, the brand sticks in the audience’s heads.
Tenga’s Brand Strategy
Tenga wants to be “the company that launched a sex toy into space.” They’re also taking the opportunity to directly sell more products. They’ve set up a pop-up store themed around the rocket launch. Pop-up stores themselves are a form of experiential marketing.
Many of the most successful companies integrate marketing into everything they do. Tenga is one of those companies. Their product design is ubiquitous and easily recognizable. They made a funny robot character of their product. Then they partnered with Good Smile Company to make an action figure of the robot. They even did a crossover with Mazinger and Getter Robo. Now they’re shooting a rocket into space with their product on it.
Whether or not they end up making a space Tenga, they’re gonna be known as “the company that launched a sex toy into space.” From a marketing standpoint, that by itself is worth however much it costs to get the thing up there.